Congress and the Democratic Party are countering the Trump administration’s threats to the US Postal Service. At worst, ballots will be somewhat slowed down.
Questions? Please call the Chester County Democratic Office at 610-692-5811.
APPLYING FOR YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT
You can apply online for a mail-in ballot at the State site. Or call 1-877-VBOYTESPA.
You can also download, print and complete a mail-in paper application. (For instructions in Spanish: here and for many other languages click on the little globe or “Translate” in the upper right corner). Or you can pick up a blank application form in person (bring identification) at Voter Services, 601 Westtown Rd, Suite 150, West Chester, PA 19380, in the Chesco Government Services Building, in West Goshen just east of West Chester Borough (take mask and ID).
If you apply online and enter a driver’s license or PennDot ID number, indicate your name as on that document, not as in your voter ID card if different.
On the written application, your municipality is the political entity where you live (e.g., West Goshen), not your postal address (which, for West Goshen, would be West Chester). “Ward” applies to just a few municipalities, e.g., West Chester ward 3. “Voting district” refers to precinct number, which for that ward is 835. But those answers are not essential!
If you are planning to travel during the mail-in voting period, you can give an address other than your home to receive your mail-in ballot.
Voter Services must receive your application for a mail-in ballot one week in advance: by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. Postmarks do not count. But that is really too late. Apply as early as you can!
You can check your application’s status here.
If you applied for a mail-in ballot but have not received it within 2 or 3 weeks after you applied or after 50 days before the election, whichever is later, call Voter Services at (610) 344-6410 and ask for help.
FILLING OUT AND SENDING YOUR BALLOT
Sept. update: Your ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Voter Services by Friday Nov. 6. Try to mail it by October 20 to avoid mail delays and expedite processing.
When you are filling out the actual ballot, be sure to follow instructions precisely.
You have to return 3 items (see what they look like in this PADems video, source of image of completed back of outside envelope).
1) The completed ballot inside…
2) The sealed inner “secrecy” envelope (do not write anything on it!) inside…
3) The sealed outer envelope (which you have filled out on the back, with the name under which you are registered to vote, and your signature; you need a witness only if you had help filling out the ballot). You should have received a stamped return envelope, but add a stamp if needed.
Or, you can drop off the ballot in its 2 envelopes yourself in person at Voter Services, 601 Westtown Rd, Suite 150, West Chester, PA 19380. Or, beginning October 13, you can drop off your ballot (in its envelopes) at a number of public libraries designated as Satellite Offices or dropbox locations. See the list here. Take mask and ID for these options in case requested.
Or, pay extra to use a company like UPS or FedEx (put ballot and its 2 envelopes inside the commercial envelope).
AFTER YOU HAVE SENT YOUR BALLOT or IF YOU DON’T SEND YOUR BALLOT
You can check your ballot’s status here.
If you aren’t sure whether the County received your ballot in time, you may go to your polling place on election day. If the County received your mail-in ballot on time, that will count. If your mail-in ballot was not received, you can vote in person. Take ID just in case.
If you received your mail ballot but did not mail it or drop it off, you can take it to your polling place on election day and ask for it to be voided. If you take the full packet including the 2 envelopes, then a regular ballot will be issued to you. If you don’t bring the needed parts, then you can vote provisionally. Take ID just in case.
If you qualify as an absentee voter, you must vote by absentee ballot. You will need to indicate your reason, either
• I will be absent from my municipality
• I have an illness or physical disability
Otherwise, the process is the same as for mail-in voting.
There is also a provision for emergency absentee voting if a sudden emergency (like being hospitalized) after the absentee ballot application deadline prevents you from going to the polls as planned.
When you follow a link to the PA Department of State for voting info you will see the image below. Mail box image at the top by Phillip Pessar from Wikimedia Commons.